Democrats Challenge the New MBTA GM/CEO Qualifications

By Phil Orlandella

Shortly after Governor Charlie Baker made the selection of Luis Ramirez to serve as the MBTA General Manager and CEO, the Massachusetts Democratic Party jumped all over the appointment questioning his qualifications and ability to turn around the struggling public system.

Democrats are weary of Ramirez, because of his former employer Global Power Equipment Group, which is under SEC investigation for financial misstatements during Ramirez’s tenure as CEO of the company and are calling for his resignation.

“The governor has appointed a GM and CEO with zero transportation experience, while promising that his pick had turned around experience,” the Democratic group as claimed.

“Now we’ve learned that his (Ramirez) was supposed to turn around of Global Power Equipment Group was really a $47 million loss and the company is under investigation for misstating its income when he was CEO,” Chair Gus Bickford said. “If Baker’s GM doesn’t know how to run a public transportation system or how to turn around a struggling company what was he hired to do?”

Bickford noted, “The MBTA isn’t a private corporation for Charlie Baker’s big business allies to squeeze more money out of it, it’s the engine that keeps the Greater Boston economy running.”

The Chair said, “When is Governor Baker going to admit that the T needs a long-term plan and new investments, not just budget cuts and accounting gimmicks.”

WBUR reported that two months after Ramirez departed, the firm had to notify SEC that its financial statement for 2014 “should not be relied upon because of accounting errors”.

According to the station, “When the company refiled its financial statements, they revealed additional accounting errors for the three years Ramirez was CEO.”

WBUR also reported, “In its original filing, Global Power Equipment Group reported a net income of $11 million for 2014, the final complete business year Ramirez served as CEO and it actually had a net loss of $47 million and originally overstated its 2014 net income by 524 percent.”

            While SEC is now investigating the Company, a group of investors are suing Ramirez and the company.